How I Knew

The NSA FilesI’ve been reading CHARLES BUKOWSKI: LOCKED IN THE ARMS OF A CRAZY LIFE and ran across a statement about specifically when he knew he was a writer.

It got me to thinking.

How did I…when did I…realize I was a writer? I mean, really? Could I get this down to a day I remembered?

Like many writers, I started writing when I was very young—in fourth grade. But I also drew pictures (super hero comics mostly). Yes, I started a novel in sixth grade, too, but I was still a kid, still had other aspirations. I remember wanting to be a scientist, an astronomer, an explorer, an actor, a musician. As I got older and continued to explore who I was, I continued to go back to writing, my fall back position perhaps. Again, though, seriousness came along, truly, when I became a serious adult. And I had a wife and two kids to help drag me there.

That’s when I started writing stories and poems and sending them out to magazines. Rejection after rejection after rejection… Eventually, as an adult, I started to wonder about what I did with my time. Was I wasting it? Was I just not a writer? So, I quit writing.

Besides raising my family, I was in the Air Force at the time, was going to school for an electronics engineering degree, and already had a part-time job repairing televisions. After all, I was really good at understanding technology, why the hell was I wasting my time trying to write?

Well, there’s a whole story that could be plugged in here, as with anyone’s life, and I’ve selected from that whole story what I’m expressing here. Another time, another blog post, and perhaps I’ll take this in another direction – I can do that, you know? But, for now, I’ll tell you that I didn’t throw away my notebooks or anything, but I stopped carrying one around with me everywhere I went, which was my habit at the time.

As any write can guess, it didn’t take long—a day maybe—before something came to mind that I just had to write down. And I had no paper! No pen! I was panic-stricken. I tried to memorize what I was thinking. I remember that I was driving an old VW Bug, but I don’t remember where I was, some highway in Delaware. I only remember that I found an old brown paper bag in my car. I pulled over onto the side of the road and rummaged through my glove compartment, chucking everything onto the floor. I found a pen. And I wrote. It felt great.

To this day, I don’t know what was so important to write down. I only recall the complete panic I felt from not being able to. I was about to cry, I remember. Since then, I began to carry a notebook and pen everywhere I went. I don’t do that so much now, but I did that for years and years. I will admit that sometimes I get nervous when I leave my notebook at home or in the car while I’m at the store or a concert. But I don’t panic like I did then. I know I’m a writer now. I don’t have to prove it to myself.

So, what was your moment? When did you realize that you were a writer?

Ten Months In WonderlandTerry Persun writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy. He is a Pushcart nominee. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. His novels, “Wolf’s Rite” and “Cathedral of Dreams” were ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists in the science fiction category, and his novel “Sweet Song” won a Silver IPPY Award. His latest science fiction space opera is, “Hear No Evil”, his latest fantasy is “Doublesight”, his latest mainstream/literary novel is “Ten Months in Wonderland”.

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